Your Coffee Is Murder

Friggin’ hilarious.

I’ll often go looking up something to fact-check what I’m writing and stumble across bizarre things like this.  This is a pastiche of scenes from coffee ads ca. 1950s-1960s.

Of course, the comments on YouTube are all about “sexism” or whatever, but my experience of ads from that era is that they were a lot harsher and more aggressive all-around than ads of today.  In the 1960s, advertisers were unafraid to tell you that your breath stinks, or that you’ll never get a date if you’re bald, or that you can’t make coffee worth a damn.

Whether the shift in the tone of advertising is due to refinement in advertisers’ technique, or due to people today being pussies who can’t handle criticism, I leave to the reader’s speculation.

The History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 8

The copyright Nazis aren’t allowing us access to several of SourcererZZ’s videos on the history of the magical girl genre, so the next one I can embed is episode 8, which covers the years 1998 to 1999

He here discusses some very well-known and influential series, starting with Cardcaptor Sakura, which is possibly the most overrated magical girl franchise of all time (I’m sorry, but it’s true) by the inexplicably popular CLAMP. I was geeking out about magical girls with somebody a month or so back, and he described Cardcaptor Sakura as the story of “an adorable, innocent little girl completely surrounded by perverts.” I can’t think of a more accurate description. But I’ll rant on that at another time.

SourcererZZ also discusses the cute witch mega-franchise Ojamojo Doremi, which is known to cause cavities. Then he goes on to describe Phantom Thief Jeanne, the original manga version of which recently saw a re-release. The anime version of that one was bowdlerized from the manga.

He goes on to discuss Jubei-chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch, one of the most bizarre series I’ve ever seen. Although it’s inexpressibly weird, it has an excellent story involving ancient grudges and samurai battles, but it sacrifices much-needed character development on the altar of cheap boob jokes.

History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 5

Unfortunately, part 4 of SourcererZZ‘s thorough history of magical girl anime is not available in my country because of a copyright claim, so we have to skip ahead to part 5, where he starts with 1993’s superhero parody Moldiver. He continues from there through 1995. These are the years immediately after the appearance of Sailor Moon, when the genre enjoyed a surge in popularity.

I particularly enjoyed his discussion of Magic Knight Rayearth, an RPG-inspired adventure with a twist, which is the only story by CLAMP (that team of manga-ka that is both so prolific and so overrated) that I like.

Unfortunately, his sound quality is going down the tubes. SourcererZZ has always been hard to understand, but now he’s got a bad mike to go with the broken English.  His description of Moldiver is more-or-less indecipherable, but he becomes intelligible shortly after that.  In spite of the shortcomings (and, alas, the missing episodes), this is the most thorough overview of the genre I’ve ever come across.  His research, and his insane ability to find clips from obscure cartoons from the days of laserdiscs and VHS, is quite impressive.

Why the New ‘Ghostbusters’ Looks Like Suck

The remake of Ghostbusters has certainly stirred the pot. Its trailer has the dubious honor of being the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history. At the time of writing, the dislike count is 839,395. That last dislike on there is mine. I don’t normally hit dislike buttons and, in fact, generally dislike them, but I wanted my own piece of YouTube history.

Recently, the popular Cinemassacre released a video in which reviewer James Rolfe says, calmly and reasonably, that he is not going to see the film because the trailer looks terrible and the new movie pays obvious disrespect to the franchise. His reasoning, given the subject matter, is sound: Continue reading “Why the New ‘Ghostbusters’ Looks Like Suck”

History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 3

I continue to be impressed by SourcererZZ’s video series covering the history of magical girl anime. His presentation is professional and knowledgeable if perhaps dry.

Here he covers the bulk of the Studio Pierrot era, when the genre was still mostly tame, but could sometimes get a little sleazy.

Unfortunately, at this point in the video series, a version with accurate subtitles is apparently unavailable, and SourcererZZ’s English continues to be, at times, difficult to understand. On the plus side, if you turn on the closed captioning, it is, as always with YouTube videos, hilarious.

Why does YouTube even have automatic closed captioning when it always turns out like this?

I Pity da Fool Who Don’t Celebrate Mother’s Day

Featured Image: “Magical Girl Meet Up” by anime-gal.

I think I can name every title referenced in that picture. From left to right, Shugo Chara!, Magic Knight Rayearth, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kill la Kill, Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Princess Tutu. How’d I do?

Happy Mother’s Day. I should have a review up tomorrow, and then of course we’ll have another chapter of Jake and the Dynamo on Monday.

Now let’s hear from the wisdom of Mr. T:

History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 2

This is the second installment of the visual history of magical girl anime from SourcererZZ.  So far I’m quite impressed by this series.

Only one of the series that he discusses in this installment is readily available.  The long-lost and decidedly obscure English dub of the 1982 series Minky Momo showed up mysteriously and without explanation on Amazon Video last year. Unfortunately, it’s packaged as a series of movies, each containing four or five episodes, which Amazon is selling for the exorbitant price of $14.95 a piece. The movies don’t appear to contain the entirety of the series. There are thirteen such movies, so at the current price, that comes out to a whopping $194.35.

It’s a good series, but it’s not that good.

History of Magical Girl Anime, Part 1

I recently found this series of videos on the history of mahou shoujo anime by SourcererZZ.  Somehow, he’s managed to dredge up clips from early shows, including some that are quite hard to find.  He seems to know his subject very well.  Depending on what he gets into, some of his later videos might be NSFW, but this first one is a pretty good overview of the evolution of the genre from its origins with Sally the Witch to the early 1970s with Cutie Honey (that last getting a little racy toward the end of the video).

He’s a little hard to understand and rather quiet, but if you turn on the closed captions, he’s added accurate subtitles.

Whoever Made This Video Needs to Watch More Older Stuff

I wrote my own list of top magical girl anime once, and it looked rather different. It’s unfortunate how quickly stuff goes out of print in both anime and manga. If you don’t get it when it’s out, it might be gone, and unless some streaming site archives it or it gets a re-release, you might not be able to find it at all. It can become more-or-less impossible to acquire, as in my fruitless quest to find a set of Creamy Mami, or prohibitively expensive, as in that opportunist on Amazon who wants seventy-five bucks for the final volume of Sugar Sugar Rune, which they tell me is the greatest of the “cute witch” magical girl stories, except I wouldn’t know because, well, seventy-five bucks? Seriously? My magical girls are precious to me, but so are my dead presidents.

I’m grateful for re-releases or longer running releases when they happen. All the furor over some bad decisions aside, I’m glad Viz picked up the original Sailor Moon to release the whole thing with subtitles, and I’m quite pleased with my collector’s set of Revolutionary Girl Utena, a series I have a love-hate relationship with. And I really like my DVD set of Princess Tutu, which in my humble opinion might be the greatest magical girl series ever made (yeah, yeah, Madoka, whatever).  It was also when Crunchyroll started archiving more older shows that I finally decided to pay them for a subscription.  Specifically, it was when they got a set of Cardcaptor Sakura, another series I have a love-hate relationship with.

By way of an update, I’ve been so busy getting Jake and the Dynamo going that I’m behind on other projects. I should have a review posted this week, at least. Jake and the Dynamo will have a new chapter every Monday for as long as I can sustain that pace, which will be at least three months.  Then I might change the schedule if necessary.

I’m also tweaking the look here.  This blog’s only a few weeks old, and it’s still running on the default theme.  For the time being, J&tD have their own spot in the sidebar, and the chapters will also be navigable.

DeMG on the ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Controversy: Everybody Shut Up

And here we go.

I get the impression from the hand-wringing that there are people on the internet who think Hollywood’s casting directors can create actors and actresses ex nihilo. They have to work with what they have, people.

Are you upset about Scarlett Johansson starring in a Hollywood adaptation of a Japanese anime? Okay, then name me an A-list Japanese actress in Hollywood. I mean that seriously; I don’t keep tabs on Hollywood and I am aware that there exist a lot of allegedly A-list actors whose names I don’t know.

Oh, excuse me, it seems most of the internet isn’t complaining that Johansson is not Japanese, but that she’s not Asian. But surely you don’t think Asian people are interchangeable and all alike, do you … do you? If the role of the Major were being played by a Pakistani or White Russian, that is, someone Asian, would you be satisfied?

Tell me: exactly when did Hollywood get Ahnenpass rules? Since when are actors and actresses supposed to be judged on melanin content or genetic heritage rather than, say, talent? It must be quite recent: I don’t remember anyone whinging about white actors in Speed Racer, which was also an American movie based on a Japanese cartoon. Oddly enough, I do remember the internet whinging a great deal about white actors in The Last Airbender, which was an American movie based on … um … an American cartoon.

“But the cartoon characters are Asian!” the internet cried.  No they weren’t. They came from magical element land, spoke American slang, and behaved like American teens. They were about as Asian as a pan-Asian cuisine fast food stall, but that didn’t stop busybodies and scolds from tarring M. Night Shyamalan as a racist, which no doubt completely blindsided him: no one has any hope of accurately predicting what will offend the Twitterati and Tumblrinas.

And because the rage and offense of Twitter cannot be predicted, there is no point in trying to avoid giving that offense. The executives at the studio making the Ghost in the Shell movie should answer the self-appointed internet moral guardians with a giant middle finger. If they do, I will see the movie. If they kiss butt instead, I’ll skip it.

It’s not “whitewashing.” It’s just practicality. Movies made in a place cast actors from that place. In Bollywood, it’s customary to depict characters of European descent by slapping a wig on an Indian actor. And I can’t tell you how many anime I’ve seen with allegedly foreign characters who speak Japanese fluently and with a flawless accent. Sometimes they speak their “native” language (usually English) with such a thick Japanese accent I can’t understand them. For example, check out the “English” girl from Kinmoza. It’s pretty funny. But does it offend me that a Japanese woman is playing an English girl? No, because I’m not that petty.

People claiming to be offended by this are trying to introduce a moral principle they cannot possibly apply consistently. The inevitable result will be hypocrisy such as we see in people condemning Johansson playing the Major while insisting we need a non-English James Bond. No casting director could possibly obey such a harsh rule, and historically, casting directors have not. Remember Scotty from Star Trek? Not actually Scottish. How about Sean Connery in Hunt for Red October? Not Russian.

When a person acts, he plays someone he’s not, someone with a different life and different history, and yes, possibly a different race, from his own. That’s why it’s called acting.

And just to be clear here, this is the character we’re talking about:

She actually kinda does look like Scarlett Johansson in a wig.
She actually kinda does look like Scarlett Johansson in a wig.